Coworking spaces are shared work environments where people from different organizations or backgrounds can work together, network, and collaborate. But where did this concept come from and how did it evolve over time?

The term “coworking” was coined by Bernie DeKoven in 1999 to describe a collaborative way of working that was facilitated by computers and the internet. However, the first coworking space as we know it today was opened in 2005 by Brad Neuberg in San Francisco. He wanted to create a space that combined the freedom and flexibility of working independently with the community and structure of working with others. He rented a space from a feminist collective called Spiral Muse and invited people to join him for free two days a week. He also offered meditation, massages, and bike rides as part of the experience.

The idea of coworking spaces spread quickly around the world, especially among freelancers, entrepreneurs, and creative professionals who were looking for alternatives to working from home or cafes. In 2006, the first European coworking space was opened in London by Stowe Boyd and Tara Hunt. In 2007, the first Coworking Day was celebrated on August 9th to mark the anniversary of Neuberg’s project. In 2008, the first Coworking Wiki was launched to connect and document the growing movement. In 2009, the first Coworking Visa program was established to allow members of participating spaces to use other spaces for free when traveling.

Since then, coworking spaces have diversified and multiplied in size, style, and services. Some coworking spaces focus on specific niches or industries, such as tech, social impact, or women. Some coworking spaces offer more than just desks and wifi, such as access to mentors, events, workshops, or incubators. Some coworking spaces are part of larger networks or franchises, such as WeWork, Impact Hub, or Regus. According to the Global Coworking Growth Study 2020 by CoworkingResources, there were over 19,000 coworking spaces worldwide in 2019, hosting over 3 million members.

The future of coworking spaces is uncertain due to the changes the COVID-19 pandemic left on the world.  The pandemic forced many spaces to close temporarily or permanently due to lockdowns and social distancing measures. However, some experts predict that coworking spaces will make a full recovery as moree people will seek flexible and collaborative work environments that can adapt to changing needs and preferences. Coworking spaces may also play a key role in supporting local economies and communities by providing opportunities for innovation, creativity, and connection.